Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of 1976*: #10-1

In 1976, All the President's Men and Rocky were two of the best movies of the year, NBC broadcast the classic movie Gone With the Wind and achieved record-breaking ratings.  

The Cincinnati Reds destroyed the New York Yankees 4 games to 0 to win the World Series.  The Soviet professional hockey team won their fourth straight gold medal at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, a streak that would end in 1980.  In figure skating at the games, 19-year-old Dorothy Hamill of the United States and John Curry of Britain captured gold. 

In music, these 10 songs have proven to be the strongest from 1976 over the last 40 years:


Let Your Love Flow
Bellamy Brothers

David and Howard Bellamy were in a group called Jericho in Atlanta, Georgia.  Jim Stafford soon noticed the brothers, and David co-wrote Stafford's big hit "Spiders And Snakes".  The Bellamy Brothers signed a recording contract with Curb Records in 1975.  Larry E. Williams, formerly a roadie for Neil Diamond, wrote this song, which the Bellamy Brothers recorded and reached the Top 10 throughout the world.


If You Leave Me Now

As mentioned yesterday, there are some important changes in this section since The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* book came out last year.  To repeat the methodology--things can change as new sales and airplay figures come out and in the seven months since the rankings were tabulated, this song has has moved up from #12 to #9 among the songs from 1976.  

Hard to believe that with all the great songs in the Chicago catalog, this was their first to go to #1.  It also topped charts in the U.K., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.  "If You Leave Me Now" was nominated for Record of the Year honors at the Grammy Awards and Chicago won Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus and for Best Arrangement Accompany Vocalists.

Theme From 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)
Diana Ross

Diana Ross starred in and sang the theme song to the movie Mahogany, released in October of 1975.  The song rose to #1 in January of 1976 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.


Take It To The Limit

Radio station program directors didn't know quite what they had with this group, consistently underrating their songs.  What they forgot to factor in were album sales, and the Eagles scored some of the biggest album sales of the decade.  This great song sung by Randy Meisner comes in at #7.


Silly Love Songs

While heavily involved with the biggest tour of their career, Wings took time in between tour dates to record the album Wings at the Speed of Sound.  When this song rocketed to #1, it gave Paul McCartney 27 #1 songs as a songwriter, the most in music history.


I'd Really Love To See You Tonight
England Dan & John Ford Coley

This duo of native Texans signed a recording contract with A&M in 1971, but when nothing materialized after three years, they were released.  They then came across a song written by Parker McGee and their recording of that song finally got them off the ground.


Tonight's The Night (Gonna' Be Alright)
Rod Stewart

Dan Peek of America said that when he was playing the America song "Today's The Day" for Rod Stewart in his recording studio, Rod got the idea for this song.  Though Stewart's song here is quite a bit different than America's song.


More Than A Feeling

This song which peaked at #5 just keeps rising over the years as new fans discover this landmark album.  There were four songs which ranked higher than this one at the time that "More Than A Feeling" charted, but Boston has the last laugh as it now is The #3 Song of 1976*.


Bohemian Rhapsody

Here's another reason not to trust peak chart numbers as evidence of popularity.  This gem only made it to #9 in 1976.  It was then re-released when featured in the 1992 movie Wayne's World, and it then rose to #2.  But time has proven it to be an even stronger song than that.  Its continued sales, strong airplay and great YouTube numbers show the song's true attributes.  


Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Elton John & Kiki Dee

Just as a horse goes "wire to wire" in the Kentucky Derby, this song has achieved the same thing among songs from 1976.  It was the #1 song of 1976 at year-end countdown shows that year, and it continues to hold off all challengers, although "Bohemian Rhapsody" continues to close the gap.

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